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Globalization and Culture

Agnosticism and atheism

Main articles: AtheismAgnosticismIrreligionAntireligion, and HumanismSee also: Criticism of atheism

The terms atheist (lack of belief in any gods) and agnostic (belief in the unknowability of the existence of gods), though specifically contrary to theistic (e.g. Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) religious teachings, do not by definition mean the opposite of religious. There are religions (including Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism), in fact, that classify some of their followers as agnostic, atheistic, or nontheistic. The true opposite of religious is the word irreligious. Irreligion describes an absence of any religion; antireligion describes an active opposition or aversion toward religions in general.

Interfaith cooperation

Main article: Interfaith dialogue

Because religion continues to be recognized in Western thought as a universal impulse[citation needed], many religious practitioners[who?] have aimed to band together in interfaithdialogue, cooperation, and religious peacebuilding. The first major dialogue was the Parliament of the World’s Religions at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, which affirmed universal values and recognition of the diversity of practices among different cultures. The 20th century has been especially fruitful in use of interfaith dialogue as a means of solving ethnic, political, or even religious conflict, with Christian–Jewish reconciliation representing a complete reverse in the attitudes of many Christian communities towards Jews.[citation needed]

Recent interfaith initiatives include A Common Word, launched in 2007 and focused on bringing Muslim and Christian leaders together,[171] the “C1 World Dialogue”,[172] the Common Ground initiative between Islam and Buddhism,[173] and a United Nations sponsored “World Interfaith Harmony Week”.[174][1